Healthy fat foods? What madness is this? Well I can tell you from personal experience that it is true. Your body craves fat, but only the natural healthy kind. This kind of fat improves all areas of your health because you are feeding your body a real food that is nourishing to your cells.
“Vegetable” oils, which are lab-created and quite unnatural, make your cells stiff and they are pro-inflammatory, which makes them unhealthy. Read this post from Paleo Leap for more information on this.
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible. It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes.
Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food and getting some sunshine is the best way to increase longevity.
But you do not want just a long life. You want a quality long life.
I like to focus on simple concepts and moving forward one step at a time for sustained progress. If that sounds good to you, then be sure to sign up and get my Keto Food Guide list.
My blog posts are my opinion and the results of things that I have tried that either worked for me or didn’t. My opinions are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. As well, there may be affiliate links in this post. Read more here.
Why Do We Need Fat?
Everyone remembers that heady period called the 90’s…when diet gurus told us that “fat makes you fat”. Well guess what? They were, and still are, confused about what a healthy fat really is.
Your body requires healthy fats, because every cell of your body is made from the healthy fats that you eat. Your body requires healthy fat to maintain these cells, as well as your brain health.
You may read that your brain prefers glucose, but that is not true.
It is very effective marketing and helps to sell a lot of breakfast cereal and pasta, but it is not scientific.
Glucose merely gives your brain quick energy, much the same way that sugary foods give your body quick energy. It may be quick, but it is not necessarily good for you. And it does not last, so you get that mental crash following a high carbohydrate meal. #brainfog
The other thing to consider is that your body will always burn carbohydrates/sugar first. As long as you keep feeding your body carbohydrates it will not burn fat until it runs out of carbs to burn. That is basic science.
High carbohydrate diets keep you fat.
Even people who appear slim but that eat a high carb diet will have plenty of fat around their organs, because they cannot burn it off. Excess energy from eating a high carbohydrate diet results in more stored body fat.
Therefore, if you eat a diet that is higher in fat, has moderate protein, and is very low in carbohydrates your body will have no choice but to burn your stored fat as fuel.
This is the main reason that low carb and keto diets are so popular…people who cannot seem to lose weight any other way (i.e low fat diets) can easily lose stored body fat by eating mostly fat and protein.
Your body prefers ketones for all of its functions.
Ketone bodies, which are a product of burning fat for fuel, are much more desired by your body and your brain because they sustain the body for a much longer period of time.
As well, fat promotes cell growth. This is essential to our well being. Read this post from Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple for more information.
Why does everyone say that fat is bad?
Well, back in the 1950’s, a researcher named Ancel Keys wanted to make a name for himself. He was determined to prove that saturated fat caused heart disease, so he set about looking at the diet information from different countries and people around the world. This study was called the diet-heart hypothesis, and has been studied.to.death.
The problem? Keys could not prove his hypothesis because the data that he had collected did not support it.
So what did he do? He skewed the data to support his theory.
That’s right…he made the data “fit”. He removed countries that did not support his theory so that the remaining countries ‘looked’ like there was a direct correlation between saturated fat and heart disease. #fake
Read this post from the Weston A Price foundation for accurate information on what we know about saturated and unsaturated fat foods.
This is a common problem with modern day research
…many researchers do not care what the facts say. As well, many dieticians support this theory because they get lucrative grants from companies that want to keep that dream alive…mostly cereal and grain companies. Read more on the Tim Noakes trial for proof of this bias.
There are currently many researchers who are still trying to prove that saturated fat causes heart disease even though there is no data to support this theory. Still they try.
The most recent and up to date information is that saturated fat has no impact on heart health. Read this article called Saturated Fats: Do They Cause Heart Disease to read the most recent information on how saturated fats impact health.
How Can We Tell Which Fats Are Healthy And Which Are Not?
Here are two basic types of fats: saturated and unsaturated.
Saturated fat is found in the highest amounts in animal products and tropical plants like coconuts. Unsaturated fats are found primarily in nuts, seeds, and olives as well as so-called “vegetable” oil.
Also in the unsaturated category you will also find polyunsaturated.
Most fats contain different combinations of both saturated and unsaturated depending on where the fat comes from. Natural fats work together to give your body a variety of fat types.
You will read a lot that saturated fat is unhealthy because it clogs arteries, but this is simply not true. That would imply that just eating fat clogs arteries, so people should be dropping like flies after eating a doughnut. That rarely happens.
No, your body can make saturated fat if it does not have enough to function. Does that sound like something that is bad for health? It isn’t.
Thanks to the saturated fat scare tactics, we were given an alternative: Unnatural Trans Fats
Trans fats are unsaturated fats that were created as a by product of margarine production. Scientists discovered that by the process of hydrogenation, they could turn vegetable oils, which are unsaturated by nature, into a type of fat that mimics the properties of saturated fat.
Saturated fat gives baked goods a specific texture and shelf life, so these fats were created as a substitute for butter and lard, the two most popular baking fats prior to this.
Unfortunately, trans fats are super unhealthy as they are now connected to coronary heart disease, because they cause inflammation.
Most processed foods use inflammatory vegetable oils.
As well, deep fried foods are cooked in vegetable oils, which is unstable at temperatures required to properly cook food in a deep fryer, so….yuk.
Back in the day, McDonald’s had the best tasting french fries specifically because they were deep fried in beef tallow. Vegetarians did not like this and so nagged the fast food companies into using soybean oil, which we now know is a trans fat.
Read more which oils are the best for deep fat frying here.
“Vegetable” oils are unnatural
Vegetable oils sound healthier because of the word vegetable, but do not let that fool you. There is nothing natural about corn oil, canola oil, or the other industrial seed oils. They can only be created in a lab, because everyone knows that you can’t squeeze a cob of corn and get fat from it.
Because these fats are unnatural, your body treats them like the invaders that they are goes right to work to rid your body of them.
If you eat a lot of processed foods, then this is a full time job for your body. Over time, it becomes a challenge for your immune system to keep up and you will notice more and more health problems appearing in your life. Your body is struggling to keep up with the demand from these invaders.
One of the most popular industrial seed oils, and also the most widely used, is soybean oil. If you would like to read about how scientists turned a bean into oil, check out this post from perfectketo.com
The List of Healthy Fat Foods
Natural fats are good for our bodies. Our body uses fat for growth development and to help our cells function optimally. Fat is also part of the myelin, the wrapping of our nerve cells, and we need it for the electrical messages that are sent back and forth in our body.
We also need to fat to transport fat soluble vitamins throughout our body, like Vitamin A, D, K or E. And of course fat is filling, so eating quality fat helps to keep us fuller for longer.
Whenever possible, go for the freshest and best quality foods. This may seem expensive, but since you will be eating a lot less of these natural foods, you will not have to purchase as much or as often.
1. Meat and Meat Fat
Most meat is surrounded by a layer of fat. This adds flavor to meat as well as moisture while it cooks. Feel free to eat this fat as long as the meat you buy is top quality, grass fed if possible. This ensures that you are eating quality fat.
Beef is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet and provides far more nutrients than any other one food. You also get the added benefit of the higher quality heme iron, which is more easily absorbed and used by the body.
Read this post by Diana Rodgers of Sustainable Dish, on why choosing beef is a better choice than the new fake meat, regardless of how that stuff is marketed.
Eat liberally of: beef and its fat, pork and its fat, and poultry and its skin.
You can buy the cheaper cuts of beef and slow cook them.
I buy outside round roasts (aka bottom round) whenever they are on sale and I freeze them for later use. Brown the completely thawed piece of meat it in hot fat (bacon usually), and add beef broth to halfway up the meat.
Put a lid on and roast it for 4 to 5 hours at 275F. You get a tender piece of meat that makes your kitchen smell divine! This works with any cut of beef that is full of fibrous connective tissue, like blade steak (aka top blade), chuck, inside round, and of course stewing beef.
My favorite stew recipe is similar to this one.
I slow cook my stew at 275F for 5 hours, which I think makes it taste better than when I use a slow cooker. Add any hardy winter veggies that you like, such as parsnip, carrots, onions, or turnips.
I do not use packaged flavorings or corn and flour is not required. I will use two potatoes in my stew, and at the end of the cooking time I will mash them into the stew to thicken it, because I am not using flour. If you have the space in your macros for flour, you can use a couple of tablespoons.
If you can, try to buy pastured poultry and pork.
Eat animals that have been treated well by the farmer and fed quality food. This way you get the best quality meat, which is more nourishing for your body.
You can also include: fresh, wild-caught seafood, shellfish, and mollusks in this category. So ya, steak and lobster is on the menu!
I live in Canada, and grass-fed butter (butter from cows who are grass fed) is a premium item. I find it easier to purchase heavy cream from grass fed cows and them I make my own butter.
Butter can be made easily at home by using full fat heavy cream and a jar with tight fitting lid. Just pour the cream into the jar, tighten the lid and start shaking. A great project to keep young children busy.
An easier method is to put the cream in a blender and blend on high for a couple of minutes. The blender spins the fat and makes it stick to itself. After a minute or two you will end up with a clump of butter and a watery liquid, which you can keep or discard. I freeze it in ice cube trays and then put in a zipper bag. I use this in any recipe that calls for buttermilk.
Rinse this butter until the water runs clear and be sure to squeeze the butter to extract all of the whey. Add some good quality salt if you want salted butter.
First cousin to butter, ghee is clarified butter that has been taken a step further.
Clarified butter is butter that has been melted and separated from the milk solids. Essentially it is butter oil, and it is that yummy stuff that comes with your lobster dinner.
Removing the milk solids means that the butter can be heated to higher temperatures without burning
It is the milk solids that burn at lower temperatures.
To get ghee, you keep heating the clarified butter to the point where it changes color from yellow to golden and it takes on a nutty flavor (taste it and see!). Saute your meat in this for a yummy taste.
I use two pounds of unsalted butter when I make ghee.
Use a heavy bottomed pot on the lowest setting on your stove top and add 2 pounds of frozen butter. Just leave it alone the whole time, but I do watch it.
Once the butter is completely melted, you want to keep an eye on it. When the color changes from yellow to golden, you need to monitor if closely so that it does not darken too much. This is a nasty taste (I know from experience) and is a waste of butter.
When it has the right taste and color, I strain the ghee using a fine sieve and coffee filters to catch the milk solids. For 2 lbs of butter, I will strain it into a 4 cup glass measuring cup and then transfer the ghee into a quart sealer jar. You may have to swap out coffee filters because they get clogged after a bit.
It can safely sit on your kitchen counter for months because it is pure fat. Try frying some eggs in ghee…you will never go back to whatever you used before.
The worlds most versatile food, eggs are easy and cheap and packed with nutrients. Fry them up in butter, coconut oil, or even bacon fat. And be sure to top your eggs with some extra butter to increase your fat intake.
My recipe for yummy scrambled eggs is to beat 2 eggs. Add in a tablespoon of heavy cream and some salt and pepper. Heat your non stick pan on medium heat and add some butter to fry in. Pour in the eggs and let them sit a minute. Start stirring the eggs as they start to set up and only cook until they are just set. Top with butter and enjoy.
Deviled Eggs: Hard boil some eggs, and when cool cut them in half and scoop out the cooked yolk. Mix this with a good quality mayonnaise, add in some chopped spring onion and then spoon this filling back into the cooked white. This is a super simple appetizer or light main course if served with a tossed green salad.
A low carb dieters best friend (next to the chaffle) has to be avocado.
My favorite way to eat avocado is to fry up some bacon, and when it is mostly cooked add in some raw shrimp. Stir fry to quickly cook the shrimp and when almost done, toss in half of an avacado that has been cubed up. Heat and serve. Yummmmm!
Another tasty way to eat avocado is with cream cheese. Use a chaffle as a sandwich base and top with cream cheese, avocado, and maybe some cooked shrimp if you have it.
Related Post: Keto Chaffle
6. Coconut Oil
I buy mine in a big jar from Costco. It lasts forever, even though I use coconut oil for so many things, namely hand and/or foot cream. Keeps things extra soft 🙂
Virgin coconut oil smells like coconut, and can leave a bit of a taste as well, so if you do not want that flavor use the refined oil. I have no issues with it, so I only have one jar of virgin coconut oil because…easy.
Coconut oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), which can cross the blood-brain barrier. This is a big reason why bulletproof coffee is so popular…the MCT in coconut oil helps the caffeine cross to the brain, improving mental clarity.
Make fat bombs with coconut oil, cocoa and some sweetener. Mix and pour into a candy mold and refrigerate until set. Keep them cold until ready to eat, because they melt fast. You can also mix in some nut butter and/or chopped nuts for variety. My favorite nuts to add are macadamia, for the extra fat.
7. Cream Cheese
One of my favorite things to do with cream cheese is make mini-cheese balls. This is the recipe that I used.
This makes a tasty snack and you can switch up ingredients, using blue cheese instead of cheddar and using different nuts to roll them in. Some people roll their cheese ball in crumbled bacon or even other shredded cheese.
You can also make sweet fat bombs using cream cheese, lemon juice and some sweetener. Tastes kind of like cheesecake.
Add some cream cheese when you make sugar free jello (make sure the cheese is soft or you get lumps). Or just roll cubes of cream cheese in sugar free jello powder for an easy snack.
Nuts and seeds contain good quality fats and are very versatile. Keep a variety of unsalted nuts in your freezer for use in treats.
You can make salted spiced nuts for festive occasions. I buy the costco jar of unsalted mixed nuts because I like good quality salt on my food. I add a cup or two to a baking sheet and mix with some avocado oil. Toast at 350F for about 10 to 13 minutes (start watching closely at the 10 minute mark so they don’t burn). Take them out and toss with a good quality salt ( I use Kirkland pink Himalayan from Costco, of course lol)
Or you can make a spice mix and toss the nuts with that. Or you can make a “candied” nut mix with bacon, like this one from Peace, Love, and Low Carb.com
9. Nut Butters
Gone are the days when peanut butter was the only nut butter in most stores. Now you can get all manner of nuts ground up with a little salt added for flavor.
Watch for the use of industrial seed oils added to some brands of nut butters. Avoid oils like soybean, canola, sunflower, safflower and corn. These are all industrial seed oils (corn is not a seed, but it is processed the same way).
You only want ground nuts and maybe some salt.
Try cashew butter, almond butter, cashew-almond butter, coconut-almond butter, hazelnut butter, nut and seed butter and pecan butter. Get your nut butters as smooth nut butters, chunky nut butters or mixed with cocoa.
Nut butter can be added to fat bombs to plump up the fat and protein
Much like nuts, seeds can be a fatty little powerhouse. But where some people cannot tolerate nuts, they can tolerate seeds. Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and many others make a great addition to salads or fat bombs. I could eat sesame seeds on everything and I love the taste of sesame seed oil on my stir fry.
Chia seeds are an amazing source of protein, and can be made into a pudding-like dessert by mixing with a high fat milk and letting it set up overnight. In the morning add a few fresh berries for a tasty breakfast. One ounce of chia seeds contains 9 grams of fat.
Ground flax seed contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids and can be used as an egg substitute in vegetarian cooking (not that I do this, but some people do. I like real eggs). Sprinkle some ground flax seed over your chia pudding for extra protein and fat.
11. Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate is very high in fat, and so it lends itself to a low carb healthy way of eating. It is an acquired taste, but it can be used to make other foods like fat bombs.
A yummy recipe that uses nut butter, crushed pork rinds, and sugar free chocolate chips can be found here. I do not use the chocolate chips, but instead make a chocolate fat bomb and then chop them up for this recipe. Tasty!
Or what about chocolate covered bacon? I just know you want to try it, because of course!
12. Avocado Oil
This is an amazing product. Avocado oil has a higher smoke point than most other oils, which means you can heat it to higher temperatures before it starts to smoke. This makes avocado oil perfect for pan frying foods like chicken.
Chosen Foods sells avocado oil as well as avocado oil mayonnaise at Costco. The mayo tastes like normal mayo, but has a longer shelf life than homemade.
I do make my own mayonnaise when I know that I can use it all. This recipe is similar to the one that I use, which I make in a pint jar with the help of an immersion blender.
13. Krill Oil
Okay, now this one is technically a supplement. And the reason that you want krill oil specifically is that it contains Astaxanthin, which is a carotenoid. The carotenoid is the pigment that colors seafood red (or pink), like salmon or shrimp, or adds the bright orange color to carrots.
And because it is fish oil, it also contains fat soluble vitamins like A & D. The biggest benefit of taking krill oil supplements is that it contains a built in natural sunscreen. I tested this out a couple of years ago and was pleasantly surprised to spend 5 days in the sun without turning pink or burning.
I have read numerous reports from people who are increasing their fat intake and discovering that they can spend more time outside without a sunscreen. And they do not burn. Read this article by Tom Naughton of Fat Head blog. Be sure to read some of the comments to see how many people are having a similar experience. I know I did.
14. Full Fat Dairy
Cream cheese, Greek Yogurt, heavy whipping cream and full fat hard cheeses are all really great sources of fat. If you can, check your local farmers markets for anyone selling raw milk cheeses as well.
Foods like Greek yogurt have the added benefit of pro-biotics, which are useful for gut health. Add them, and other pro-biotic foods like kombucha or fermented veggies like homemade saurkraut or kimchi to keep your gut happy and healthy.
15. Wild Salmon
It is important that you eat fresh, wild fish that swim deep in the ocean. They are healthier and have more nutrition.
The taste is also superior. I was raised on fresh seafood because we had a commercial fisherman in our family. I ate a lot of home canned salmon, chowders, and fresh cod that my mom deep friend for fish and chips. Those were the days!
Farmed fish is at the whim of the owner and we have all heard countless stories of how unhealthy these fish are. The flesh of the fish is a grey color because they are not eating their natural diet.
So they have chemical dyes added to their food to change their flesh to a more normal pink, which is so ewwwwww. Read this post from Paleo Flourish on why you should avoid farmed fish. And then read this one from Wellness Mama.
16. Tuna Packed in Olive Oil
This is a tasty combination that can be a challenge to find sometimes. Costco used to sell a four-pack of tuna like this, but lately they only have the tuna packed broth.
Not only is this tuna tastier, at least to me, but it also comes with added fat. Quality fat, in the form of olive oil. I like to leave some of the oil with the tuna (not draining it all) and then I use avocado mayonnaise to have a filling and healthy amount of fat with some good quality protein.
17. Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is strong flavored and has a darker green color than mixed oils.
Some manufacturers sell a blend of olive and canola oils, so that you can have a lighter oil for salad dressings or homemade mayonnaise. But, eww, gross. Adding canola to olive oil just creates an unhealthy blend packaged as healthy.
Olive oil is best used in Mediterranean recipes, like Greek salad dressing. Mixing extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper makes a yummy and flavorful dressing for salad. Because top quality olive oil can be expensive, purchase smaller bottles to ensure that you use it up before it goes “off”. Or keep it refrigerated.
I am giving bacon its own category here because it is special. Use the fat from bacon to fry other foods; or wrap bacon around other food, like chicken breast, to enhance the fat level. You can dip your bacon in chocolate for a strange snack (yes, I have tried this).
Fry up pieces of bacon to add to salads or scrambled eggs. Wrap bacon around scallops for a tasty appetizer. I have had bacon wrapped around prunes as well and this is wonderful combination of sweet and salty.
Bacon is very versatile and a staple of low carb diets. Watch for brands that contain sugar or other unhealthy ingredients. Otherwise, go for it! I recommend pork bacon over turkey or other fake-ish bacons.
19. Sour Cream
Another dairy staple of the low carb crowd, sour cream can be used in many ways. Be sure to buy full fat sour cream, as low or no-fat products contain starches and sugars to give the products the right texture at the expense of the fat.
Try this recipe for a low carb sour cream beef bake, if you need to use up some sour cream in your fridge (happens to me all the time because I cannot tolerate much fresh dairy)
Another fun recipe is to mix sour cream, fresh lemon juice and some approved sweetener for a sweet treat that tastes like cheesecake. Here is a recipe for a sour cream cake with a cream cheese frosting from low carb maven.
Black or green, go for it. What I loved about being on Atkins diet was that I was encouraged to eat olives. Not that I needed encouragement to eat them, but it was a great reminder to eat them.
Stuffed green olives are a handy addition to a low carb diet. Mix chopped green stuffed olives with feta and ground beef to make Greek meatballs. This is one of my favorite foods on low carb. You can eat these warm, cold or room temperature.
And you will want some chopped black olives to add to pizza breakfast bake. This is my favorite low carb lunch to take to work. Try this recipe from Peace, Love, and Low Carb.
21. Ranch Dressing
This is another staple food of the low carb crowd, but you really do not want to eat commercially prepared dressings. They are full of unhealthy ingredients like soybean oil.
Making your own homemade version is not only healthier, but tastier. Top chicken breasts with some ranch dressing and then a piece of bacon cut in half (1 full slice per chicken breast). Bake at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. 5 minutes before it is cooked, top with some cheddar cheese. Easy and tasty.
22. Heavy Whipping Cream
Heavy cream comes in handy for every low carber. Add a bit to your morning coffee to boost your fat.
Or make an Italian Soda by adding soda water to a glass of ice. Add a splash of heavy cream and some Toriani sugar free syrup for a light low carb drink.
Whip the cream and add sweetener for a light dessert.
Mix heavy cream into sugar free jello for another light dessert.
You can also boil down meat drippings and then use a bit of heavy cream to make a low carb gravy.
23. Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts get their own category because they are the highest fat nut. If you need to up your fat macros, then 1/4 cup of macadamias are a great choice.
A great tip is to measure your allotment of nuts, so that you do not overeat and throw your macros off (it is easy to do!); I found that 1/4 cup is about 14 nuts.
Chop some up to add to your fat bombs. And here is a recipe from My Keto Kitchen for macadamia butter cookies.
Or try this recipe from All Day I Dream About Food for low carb coconut macadamia bars. Enjoy!
24. Sun-dried Tomatoes Packed in Olive Oil
This is kind of a bonus item, because of the tomatoes. Sun-dried tomatoes are a way of adding a flavorful oil to your cooking along with a fairly low carb vegetable that adds a one-of-a-kind taste. I tend to buy larger jars and then freeze smaller amounts for later use.
If you want an easy recipe that uses plenty of good fats along with this tasty item, I will give the Cliff notes version:
Drain the oil from an 8.5 oz jar of julienne sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, reserving 3 tbsp for cooking. Pan fry 4 chicken breasts in this reserved oil, until the chicken pieces are golden brown.
Add 4 cloves of thinly sliced garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine, 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, and the drained sun-dried tomatoes. Bring to a boil, cover skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a plate to keep warm. Increase the heat and boil the sauce until it thickens and can coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve chicken with the sauce spooned over.
Today I have shared 24 healthy fat foods that can nourish your body. Mix and match them to maintain the best health.
For example, have a couple of sausage links to go along with two eggs; crush or finely chop nuts to make a coating for chicken or pork; or make fat bombs from cream cheese, cheddar cheese and chopped stuffed olives.
You will be surprised at how much more mental clarity you have when you start to up your intake of good fats. As these fats go to work to nourish and feed your brain, you will feel more balanced and you will retain more and find it easier to remember things.
Ready to try the Keto diet? Your first step is to sign up for my weekly newsletter and grab your cheat sheet for buying Keto foods.
Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
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Until next time, here is to our health!